Pittsburgh Emerging Arts Leaders Network

Connecting emerging arts managers with skill-building and leadership development resources.

Women in the Arts

This month, PEAL will be celebrating and honoring women artists in recognition of International Women’s History Month. Subscribe to our blog to read all about it!

In the style of Jane Eyre…

Dear Reader,

I am increasingly perplexed by a conundrum that I encounter daily in my work as a woman in the arts: where oh where are the women leaders? Well, scratch that. There are plenty of them. I need only look to our very own Pittsburgh Emerging Arts Leaders Steering Committee to see that there are plenty of women leaders. But as noted, they are emerging. Look towards the lists of established leaders (and you may decide for yourself what that means–I deduce that it’s any person with significant–read: 15+ years–of experience) and that number becomes quite small. Why oh why??

I had the pleasure of facilitating a conversation around this very subject this past Saturday at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on the art form that I currently work in (classical dance) and am delighted to be sitting on a panel tomorrow, Thursday, March 7, at 6:30 pm the Alloy Studios about this topic. People are talking about this problem–and I frankly do see it as a problem in our field. For instance, Victoria Morgan from the Cincinnati Ballet noted while researching in preparation for creating a mixed repertory production comprised of exclusively female choreographers that of all the 290 ballets being produced by ballet companies with a budget greater than $5 million dollars, 25–read: twenty five or 11.6%–were choreographed by women. And that’s for an art form that has one of the highest percentages of women artists within its ranks. The SWAN Day website lists many more resources specific to different art forms that tell a similar story.

But if in fact there is no dearth of women leaders in the arts, particularly at the emerging level, how can we, dear reader, nurture women leaders in the arts–both artists and managers–to bring them to that next level, whatever that might be?

We’ll be exploring this question all month, but if you have any thoughts–please share!



Alyssa Herzog Melby is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

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